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It struck me like an unplanned rendezvous with an ex-lover. You know, one of those encounters that makes you wonder why the hell you’ve elected to follow such a stubborn path in life. 

Here I am, fascinated by a wide range of subjects, dabbling in a whirlwind of activities, yet barely reaching mediocrity in any of them.

I played the piano in a school band and these days strum a guitar.  Yet in my endeavours to master the keyboards and nylon strings, the musical gods remain spectacularly unimpressed. 

After several years of music lessons, I can recognise Middle C and F in the right hand. Beyond those, sheet music might as well be written in Ancient Sumerian.

On one occasion I thought I’d unlock the secrets of the universe with a powerful telescope I bought in Singapore to usher me into the cosmic realm.  Visions of grandeur perhaps!

Now where did Alpha Centauri go?

Fate had other plans.  Well, let’s just say the stars weren’t aligned for me, and I ended up gazing at my own confusion more than telling NASA about the black holes I’d discovered.

My excuse for losing interest? Too much ambient light to see the stars properly.

Oh, and my bookshelf? It’s like a monument to literary ambition. So many unread books just waiting for me to start at chapter one.

But you know what? Permit me a cliché here: life’s about the journey, not just the destination. 

So what if I’m not an expert at any of these things? I’m having a blast trying my hand at everything under the sun that appeals to me.  That must count for something, right? 

Who knows, maybe one day I’ll stumble upon an activity that finally matches my true calling. Until then, I’ll keep bumbling along, having fun and accumulating an impressive collection of half-engaged ideas!

It’s life’s follies and foibles that make the human condition a delightful rollercoaster of absurdity. Who needs perfection when you can revel in the splendour of exploration? 

Through these curious excursions I may stumble upon the elusive essence of my true calling for in this symphony of blunders and uncharted escapades, lies the very essence of living.

The question I ask myself: “Would I put my hard-earned cash into the unpredictable rollercoaster that is ME if I were a publicly traded share on the stock market?”

Damned right I would!

Right on time, like a perfectly tuned orchestra, American author (and humorist) Kurt Vonnegut’s words resonated with me in a way that made my heart sing.

When I was 15, I spent a month working on an archeological dig. 

I was talking to one of the archeologists one day during our lunch break and he asked those kinds of “getting to know you” questions you ask young people: Do you play sports? What’s your favorite subject? 

And I told him, no I don’t play any sports. I do theater, I’m in choir, I play the violin and piano, I used to take art classes.

And he went WOW. That’s amazing!

And I said, “Oh no, but I’m not any good at ANY of them.”

And he said something then that I will never forget and which blew my mind because no one had ever said anything like it to me before:  “I don’t think being good at things is the point of doing them. I think you’ve got all these wonderful experiences with different skills, and that teaches you things and makes you an interesting person, no matter how well you do them.”

And that honestly changed my life. Because I went from not succeeding at anything specific – someone who didn’t excel at anything, to someone who did things to the extent I wanted to because I enjoyed them. 

I had been raised in such an achievement-oriented environment, so inundated with the myth of talent, that I thought it was only worth doing things if you could ‘Win’ at them.”


I feel more valued already.

Graeme Dinnen

Thank You Kurt Vonnegut


  • Mary Francis says:

    Thank you Graeme, I will remember Kurt’s words when I am talking to my grandson Jack, aged 15.

    Best regards,
    Mary (I came to the New Rock many years ago and have enjoyed your newsletters ever since)

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